Protective effect of dietary squalene supplementation on mitochondrial function in liver of aged rats

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Jun;76(6):349-55. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.05.001. Epub 2007 Jun 15.


Mitochondria are an important intracellular source and target of reactive oxygen species. The life span of a species is thought to be determined, in part, by the rate of mitochondrial damage inflicted by oxygen free radicals during the course of normal cellular metabolism. In the present study, we have investigated the protective effect of squalene supplementation for 15 days and 30 days on energy status and antioxidant defense system in liver mitochondria of 18 young and 18 aged rats. The dietary supplementation of 2% squalene significantly minimized aging associated alterations in mitochondrial energy status by maintaining the activities of TCA cycle enzymes (isocitrate dehydrogenase, alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, succinate dehydrogenase and malate dehydrogenase) and respiratory marker enzymes (NADH dehydrogenase and cytochrome-c-oxidase) at higher level in the liver mitochondria of aged rats compared with unsupplemented controls. It exerted an antioxidant effect by inhibiting mitochondrial lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde) in liver of young and aged rats. Supplementation with squalene also maintained the mitochondrial antioxidant defense system at higher rate by increasing the level of reduced glutathione and the activities of glutathione-dependent antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase) and antiperoxidative enzymes (superoxide dismutase and catalase) in the liver of young and aged rats. The results of this study provide evidence that dietary supplementation with squalene can improve liver mitochondrial function during aging and minimize the age-associated disorders in which reactive oxygen species are a major cause.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Squalene / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Squalene